Ear News: Dr. Charles Vacanti, who shocked the world over a decade ago by creating the worldâ€™s first ear grown on the back of a mouse has finally admitted that the laboratory-engineered animal was really a mouse grown on the side of a childâ€™s head.
â€śI took a short-cut for a great cause,â€ť said Vacanti, speaking at an MIT conference. â€śI wanted to improve organ transplant and replacement. I realised it was going to be difficult to implant fabricated cartilage structures under the skin of a mouse. That is a painstaking process and I have shaky hands at the best of times. Instead I decided to take the more straight-forward option of growing a mouse on a child.â€ť
Asked if he believed his actions were unethical, Vacanti was unrepentant: â€śIt was completely safe. I used immunosuppressant drugs to prevent the childâ€™s body rejecting the mouse. Plus I understand the mouse-ear made her a real centre of attention at kidsâ€™ parties.â€ť
Once grown, Vacanti surgically removed the ‘mouse-ear’ to create the infamous photo which spread across the internet.
â€śI knew that I could grow her a new ear anytime, which I did. A bunny ear, her favourite. At no point did the child object to any of this. Anyway, by the time she was old enough to talk, she was safely back in North Korea.â€ť